Hampstead council to discuss ruling on Riley privately tonight

The Hampstead Town Council will meet in a closed executive session tonight to discuss the state attorney general's opinion that Town Manager John A. Riley cannot simultaneously hold his Hampstead post and his position as a Manchester town councilman.

The mayor and council also will discuss economic development during the closed session, said Councilman Arthur H. Moler, who chaired last night's regular council meeting in the absence of Hampstead Mayor Clint Becker.


In response to an inquiry from Sen. Idamae Garrott, D-Montgomery, Assistant Attorney General Robert A. Zarnoch last Wednesday wrote that the state Declaration of Rights forbids a person from holding more than one paid public office. Mr. Zarnoch said Mr. Riley's Hampstead and Manchester posts both are paid public offices.

Such problems are common, Mr. Zarnoch said, and in most cases the person involved simply resigns from one of the positions.


Mr. Riley said Friday he has placed the matter in the hands of his attorney, Charles Hollman.

He said it may be two weeks before he gets Mr. Hollman's legal opinion.

Also last night, the council tabled a vote on a proposed change to the Hampstead deck ordinance until Carroll County officials can inspect decks in town that may violate county zoning procedures.

Before last night's meeting, the council held a public hearing on a proposed change in the town's zoning ordinance to allow homeowners to build larger decks.

The proposal would allow decks to extend into 40 percent of the minimum required depth of the back yard.

The current limit is 25 percent of the minimum required depth of the back yard.

Several residents and council members said they believed the proposed law would be unfair to people who had built decks legally under the old provision.